Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Morning Glory Month is Almost Gone

September is almost over and I am relieved. I know I say that every month these days. This time, I really mean it. Putting as much distance between me and the summer of 2006 is a high priority. Really, September was not much better. I have fumbled around sick, injured, or both from start to finish. I still have a nice lump on my knee that will probably get to meet the Thanksgiving turkey and maybe even the Christmas tree. Little slip ups can be costly, but I guess I have covered that in much more meaningful terms in the past. No need to rehash it over something so dumb in the grand scheme of things.

For the record, my shoulder has healed completely to the point I can move it in all directions without scraping the enamel off my teeth in the process. I still have no idea if the cause was another hematoma or a muscle injury and neither does anyone else. That is what I like most about this world--the uncertainty of who is going to hit you over the head with a hammer coupled with the certainty that someone always will regardless.

I would like to think I am getting less cynical in my advancing age. I am not, mind you, but it is nice to think so.

Who knows what October is going to bring. I confess fall is my least favorite time of the year and always has been. Here in South Carolina, the weather is still nice enough to wear a short sleeve shirt throughout the month and it still does not get dark until si o’clock or so, but the leaves turn brown and die, leaving behind skeletal trees. Jumping in a pile of raked leaves as a child was fun, but still a reminder that the air was turning colder and beautiful things were going to hide from it. I am a warm blooded soul. There was a clear sense of dread as far as I was concerned. There still is. Winter is dreary and inevitable.

I had no idea how much I disliked this time of the year until (upcoming broken record) I got to Virginia, which I have officially deemed The Worst place in the Known and Unknown Universe. It is cold in October. Everything is dead even earlier than it is in South Carolina. Dread of winter? That is putting it mildly. Try icy rain that cuts right through you because of the constant, freezing ocean wind. I honestly believe I would not be anywhere near as sour as I am now if I did not have to start my health collapse already twenty paces backwards into purgatory.

It is too late to fret about that now, but at least I have a blog to kvetch unmercifully about it all on. Lucky for both of us, huh? Right?

Right?
Another Unfunny Saturday Night Live

Not that I had high hopes anyway, but it was interesting the opening sketch was Bush visiting a minor primary election in South Carolina. Always nice when the sovereign and independent Republic of South Carolina gets a nod of recognition even if it did not ellicit any laughs.

Speaking of no laughs, Dane Cook is the host. He is promoting his new movie in which he and another guy are competing to have sex with Jessica Simpson. i sense an Oscar in his future.

Seriously though, if anyone over the age of 25 finds Dane Cook funny, they need to be locked up in a padded room as a danger to themselves and society at large.
Lost--Voodoo

A lot of bad things happen on DHARMA Island. Here is a music video featuring some of them set to "Voodoo" by Godsmack. Enjoy.
Sexiest Woman Alive: Scarlett Johansson

At least according to Esquire. She is hot all right, but sexiest? i do not know about that. She does have some nice photos out there, although she needs to work on her seductress' expression there:You may click to enlarge the photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Doctor Who--"New Earth" (Commentary)

There is not much going on in the first official episode of the season. It is a fairly trite, run of the mill story. It is something of a bridge between the two seasons for a couple of reasons. The first is meeting the Face of Bo, a background character in the first season’s “The End of the World” who did not have much to do in that episode. Supposedly he has given up on life here and wants to give the Doctor a message before he dies. By the end of the episode his faith has been restored by the Doctor’s heroic actions similarly to how rose redeemed the Doctor himself. Themes recur often in this series. The second is the return of Casandra, a villain supposedly killed in the first season, yet returns. She was not a particularly memorable villain the first time around and could be written completely out of this episode without any major loss. In fact, her presence here was simply to reveal Rose’s infatuation with the Doctor right off the bat. I will ttake these two in turn.

Supposedly Russell T. Davies has the series planned out for exactly however many seasons he plans to serve as executive producer. If true, then tidbits of certain episodes which make no sense yet may feature prominently later. As for instance, RTD has said he always planned to strand Rose on an alternate Earth to get her out of the TARDIS since the way she was written, only her death would have worked otherwise and fans would have hunted him down with pitchworks and torches and that happened. The Face of Bo is apparently another of these circumstances. He never gave the Doctor the message, saying only they would meet again some day. Fans waited the entire season assuming he would appear in the season finale with the message. No such luck. There is no guarantee the character will appear in the third season come April 2007, either. Britons must have a lot more patience in their story arcs than Americans. Rumors are the Doctor will return to New Earth at some point, but no indication when or why.

Cassandra. Why RTD chose her to connect the two seasons is beyond me, but that was his rationale. I think their was a certain redemptive element to her return. Understand a couple of things. Cassandra the last human in existence. She was a patch of skin stretched over a frame--not much more than a face. Originally, the skin was her front side. In “New Earth,“ it was a her back. Strange, but true and not well thought out, methinks. The Ninth Doctor thwarted her criminal plan in “The End of the World” and wound up killing her in cold blood. It was shocking at the time. Not completely out of character for the Ninth Doctor, a brutalized war veteran, but seemingly something the Doctor would not do overall. How he deals with Cassandra in “New Earth” is more in character. At the end, despite all the trouble she has caused, grants her a dying wish to go back and see herself as she once was. Ironic, considering the actress playing her as a full human in the past was not attractive in the slightest even though Cassandra was impressed with her past beauty. Perhaps that was the point and I am too cynical these days to get it. I do not know, but I liked the idea that the last go around between the Doctor and Cassandra was not cold blooded murder as it had been.

Here we also get beat over the head with Rose’s love for the Doctor. Cassandra’s plot is to transfer herself into human bodies to escape being a patch of skin Rose is her first victim and she lets the proverbial cat out of the bag how hot to trot for the Doctor his companion is. Sometimes RTD is too subtle. Other times he is an elephant sitting on the living room couch with a flashing neon sign and a bullhorn. At least we get it out of the way early, no?

As I sai, they could have written out the how Cassandra bit with nothing lost. The real plot (such that it is) was all about the nuns who run the hospital where the Face of Bo is dying and how they are infecting humans with every known disease in order to create vaccines to cure everything. We could have had an interesting discussion on bioethics here, but it was mostly played for laughs as Cassandra keeps switching bodies while the Doctor figures out how to cure all the infected humans. Needless to say, he succeeds. I was not particularly touched by it. It just was not very emotional due to some Marx brothers slapstick bits beforehand, yet conveniently the face of Bo was moved. To each his own.

Not a very good episode, but not terrible. I would not have made this the first of the season had I been in charge, but sticking with the season is worthwhile. No Torchwood references wee featured, either. Probably not a really great loss there, either. All in all, “New Earth” was a pretty mediocre installment somewhere in the middle if episodes were ranked best to worst.

You may read my original "New Earth" review here.
Doctor Who--"The Chistmas Invasion" (Commentary)

The Sci Fi Channel begins airing the second season of the revived Doctor Who tonight for the first time in the United States. The season ran from April to July of this year. I have viewed and recapped each episode during that time span and do not plan to technically do so again. After such a short time period, I am not eager to see most of the episodes again. Indeed, a couple of the later installment do not merit repeat viewing at all. However, I know from experience enough Americans will be watching the series for the first time that the internet will be aflutter with activity regarding the show. Okay, most will be looking for Bilie Piper naked, but I have all your Billie Piper needs taken care of in the sidebar. Photos galore, as they say. There appears to be something about her in “New Earth” that attracted a lot of searches the first time around, but I have yet to figure out what.. I thought she was much sexier in “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit,” but what do I know?

I am going to link to my original reviews and add in some original commentary. Not really a recap, but more like some additional thoughts on each episode. Thanks to making music videos for YouTube, I have had the opportunity to view these episodes more than once already and gained a bit more insight into most. Ranted, not all episodes have a lot of meat to them. Some of these writings are really short, but I have dabbled with them periodically over recent weeks to make sure these are not just thrown together at the last minute drivel just to catch a web searcher or two. I am by no means a true film or television critic, but I take these things apart as best I can. To whit:

First up we have David Tennant’s inaugrual turn as the Tenth Doctor. I find that a bit misleading. Truth be told--and this is a preview of much of the season--Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) takes center stae. I have had awfully limited experience with the original series, but I think it is safe to say Rose has been the most assertive companion the Doctor has ever had. She is the hero of at least two of the thirteen episodes plus this holiday special. Old time fans have been frustrated about that, but I thought it added a certain angle that was lacking in the old series. Then the Doctor was a now all, do all type who most often had to save his companions (male and female alike) while making kiddie table flirtations with the girls. It was not until Rose came along that any serious attempt was made to make companions an asset or romantic interest.

(Yes, I will grant you the 1996 movie had some romantic elements, but I am thinking a lot of fans debate the canonicity of a number of elements--most prominently whether the Doctor cares about sex. One assumes he does or else that explains why he spends his life battling Daleks and Cybermen--frustration.)

There certainly was no kiddie table flitation between Rose and either the Ninth or Tenth Doctors. I have made no secret I prefer the first season and Christopher Eccleston’s portaryal of the Doctor for various reasons, but one of the least was the cornier elements of his relationship with Rose. Actually, corny I only half of it. Their relationship was often stormy and uncomfortable. At times, the Doctor is incredibly abusive, particularly considering Rose is an inexperienced 19 year old in way over her head. I have chalked a lot of it up to British sensibilities, as there seems to be a certain caustic way about them which does not betray an actual animosity. I figured this out after having a British professor in college and befriending a girl from Lancashire in law school, both of him seemed rude and often emotionally cold, yet both wound up being loyal, comforting souls when it counted. It is all about the cultural differences. I suppose that is why Rose was so attached to the Ninth Doctor despite his abuse. Throughout “The Christmas Invasion,” Rose is torn as to whether she wants to travel with the “new’ Doctor because of her attachment to the old.

The dynamic of their relationship definitely changes as Rose decides she does want to stay in the TARDIS. Now that we now Billie Piper planned to leave at the end of the season, it is clear they were both helping push her character out the door and showing why romance between the Doctor and his companions is a bad thing. The character of Rose was meant to build the Nnth Doctor, melancholy, war broken, and near suicidal, back to the confident hero he is supposed to be. Those elements are prominent in the first season in which the Ninth Doctor shows Rose the Earth’s destruction in five billion years so she can relate to his feelings about losing Gallifrey and allowing to (unwisely) witness her father’s death in “Father’s Day” so she will understand what it is like to lose family as he has. Rose took all this and nearly sacrificed herself in “The Parting of the Ways” to restore the Ninth Doctor’s faith. She was successful. Too much so, really. There were not any places to go with she and the Tenth Doctor’s relationship after that other than romance. When we get to “School Reunion” and “The Girl in the Fireplace,” you will see why that fails as well.

One other element that is different here: while the Tenth Doctor seems more relaxed and happy go lucky, he is a no second chances kind of guy. The Ninth Doctor thought highly of UK prime Minister Harriet Jones at a time when he loathed most humans. Yet after she destroys the fleeing alien ship in tonight’s episode, he destroys her political career with just a few words. This puts in mind that no matter how much affection he may have for rose, he would have been harder on her than the often brutal Ninth Doctor for intervening in her father’s accident in “Father’s Day.” I do not believe h would have forgiven her or changing history.

Despite that character trait, the Tenth Doctor, at least in his first outing, seems to be a goofy adventurer who appears to not be aware of his surroundingss, yet is keenly on top of things. Later on he develops into much more of a man of action with a greater sense of fun than the Ninth Doctor ever had. He also seems less lecherous as far as th young girls go than the Ninth Doctor, yet often colder emotionally. There are interesting parallels and contrasts that pop up throughout the season, some of which seem oddly out of character, but we will get to all that later. Right now just bear in mind there is a certain emotional frivolousness to the Tenth Doctor, particularly in regards to Rose. He goes up and down annoyingly with her and is in a couple of cases blatantly dishonest with her. Admittedly, it is something of a turn off, yet fans who were into relationship speculation do not seem to agree. But that is a for further exploration down the line.

“The Christmas Invasion” is a decent first outing for the Tenth Doctor even if he is comatose for most of the episode after a rough regeneration. Our first view of Torchwood, the season’s theme, is prominent even though the actual secrecy of the organization goes up and down as the season progresses through different time periods. Sometimes it is totally covert, above the law and other times it seems like the organization is on the public’s call just like the police. I suppose it will take the premiere of the Torchwood series in October to completely clarify all that. Perhaps Rose attaches herself to the new Doctor a bit too quickly as well, but there might be enough of the Ninth Doctor in him to justify it. It is hard to say. I much preferred the Ninth Doctor and as good as the Tenth is, he just cannot hold a candle to his predecessor.

You may read my original "The Christmas Invasion" review here.
BIllie Piper Was Anorexic

Billie Piper, once a young pop singer, now most famous as Rose Tyler the doctor who companion, once battled anorexia. I am not sure if it is becoming cliché that so many singers/models/actresses are revealing their past eating or if every young girl actually is suffering/recovering/ in denial about an eating disorder. I am not being trite here. I am seriously wondering how prominent a problem among girls, particularly those who want to be famous and “need” to be prettier eating disorders are.

The linked article is telling. First, Piper is quoted as saying it was not about being pretty. It was about being in control of something. This I understand. Someone feels buffeted by circumstances beyond her control and realizes she con empower herself by fluctuating her weight. The drive to feel this power can overcome any pain the rapid weight loss might cause. I have to wonder about the mental and emotional state of such people. I have heard many simply cannot see themselves as having lost any weight. Others, I assume, do not find the empowerment satisfying and contemplate suicide in their hopelessness, as Piper did.

But the article goes on to contradict this. Later it says it was all about her appearance. Piper felt her features were too large, such as her jaw line. I do not think she is unattractive by any means--evidently she has come to this realization as well--but distinctive, which is a completely different thing. All that to say beauty is subjective and I am not entirely certain there are a whole lot of universal ideals about the matter. There ought not to be, anyway. We would all be better off if there were not.
Iron Man Has Been Cast

Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark? That is an interesting bit of casting news. Shades of Michael Keaton as Batman way back in 1989. Those were dark, pre-internet days when letter columns in comic books and trade magazines were the only way for fan to kvetch and brother did we ever. A comedian as the Dark Knight? Can Beetlejuice pull it off? I say thee nay! As it turned out, Keaton was the best Batman to hit the big screen up until Christian Bale donned the cape and cowl a couple of years ago. While there have been plenty of complainants in the last few hours since the announcement (fan boys work fast), there is a certain curiosity about the choice at best and a hopeful wait and see at worst.

Downey is a great actor, no doubt. Chaplin is one of my all time favorite movies and not just because I am a silent movie/vaudeville buff. Downey was Charlie Chaplin. Impressed me to no end. He has had troubles with narcotic in the past, but that plys into the role--at least if the story is faithful to the comics. Stark was something of a whiny, soft as cookie dough playboy until he got injured and had to wear the armo as a life support system. Over time he developed an alcohol problem to deal with the pain. His overcoming that lent an extra dimension to the character not much seen in comics then or now. Iron Man could be one of the best, most poignant comic book related movies ever if done right.

Twenty years ago I would have put tom Selleck or Stacy Keach in the armor. Of course, twenty years ago I would have put Charlie Sheeen in the Spider-Man costume, so what do I know? Never in a million years would I have thought about Downey. I think I might have even said Alec Baldwin or Colin Farrell first. Downey truly is an inspired choice the more I think about it.

But who should play James Rhodes? Some obvious choices are Samuel L. Jackson (A comic book fan himself), or Wesley Snipes, who probably does not want to be in another comic book related movie after the Blade trilogy. I assume we will wind up with Jet Li as the Mandarin. This could be an interesting cast indeed.
Amanda Peet is Expecting

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip‘s Amanda Peet is in the family way with boyfriend screenwriter David Benioff. Yes, she did put the horse before the cart. Such things happen with alarming regularity these days. The two plan to race the stork to the altar this weekend despite Peet’s cold feet. Seems she is not ready for commitment. Young ‘uns tend to require that sort of thing, honey.

Lucky for for her if Studio 60‘s soft ratings continue, she will have plenty of time for motherhood. Unless the show becomes Emmy bait (It might. Matthew Perry is a surprisingly good dramatic actor as well as comedian.) the show might be gone by Christmas. II hope not. I am really getting into it. It is such a different show than anything else that is on. Normally you would think that would be good, but in television, the out of the ordinary turns viewers off and scares network executives.

But getting back to Amanda Pett, she is one hot momma. Check out this GQ photo spread. She is not nude/naked, but she does look good in the bikini bottom:


You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Questions Still Surround Terrell Owens

Or do they? Owens says he accidentally mixed a bad combination of pain killers with the supplements he already takes normally and became woozy enough for his publicist to call 911. Supposedly the police report labeled that call a report of a suicide attempt. A later police press conference seemed ambiguous about the matter. Meanwhile, Owens left the hospital and gave reporters a thumbs and a smile as he left. Today he was catching passes from QB Drew Bledsoe in preparation for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

Are reporters making a mountain out of a mole hill? Owens is famous for being a drama queen. But he also has a good thing going in Dallas. He signed a three year, $ 25 million contract with a team that has the juice to contend this year. Maybe he is feeling Dave Chappelle pressure right now, but I doubt it. Owens has been the hero of the Super Bowl in the past and he wants to get there again. He is not going to jeopardize that.

I think journalists are digging too deep for a story that is not there. At least I hope it is not. I would hate to think someone on the verge of having it all has suicidal thoughts.
Tokyo Rose is Dead

Because of one phrase:
“Orphans of the Pacific, you really are orphans now. How will you get home now that all your ships are lost?”
broadcast over Japanese radio to American servicemen during World War II, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, aka Tokyo Rose, was convicted of treason in 1949. D'Aquino maintained her innocence throughout her six year prison term and on up until she was given the second most infamous pardon issued by President Ford in 1977.

D'Aquino died Tuesday at a Chicago hospital.
A Tale of Survival

We are at t minus six days and counting until the premiere of the third season of Lost--or at least the six episode miniseries that will start the season. I have said numerous times before that Lost is the best reason to own a television. Last night ABC aired its umpteenth recap show. I tuned in for the heck of it even thogh at this point I could make one of those myself from memory. You laugh. Given the state of our universities, I can guarantee someone has written a dissertation on the show for film studies or even English Lit. Count on it. The recap was more than likely just to give Michelle Rodriguez a royalty check to cover bail money. Regardless, people watched. I got a handful of “Locke’s blast door symbol” searchers last night. Most of them stopped to have a look at Kristen Bell in the Slave Girl Leia bikini. It’s a universal thing that transcends all genre fandom.

Speaking of the miniseries, any one else think that is a peculiar idea? Last season was annoyingly ragtag with two new episodes then two repeats all season long, so I like the idea of stringing along the whole season with no repeats. But it seems incredibly awkward to run six episodes then go on hiatus until January for 17 episodes in a row. ABC has been hyping the heck out of the show to make sure the schedule sticks in everyone’s head. I prefer the idea that was batted around initially of a 7-8-8 sequence with three short breaks in between, but I suppose that it why I am not running a network.

A couple of interesting articles are floating about. The first is a dubious one about how Lost has changed television. It is exaggerated, as many articles are. While Lost has integrated the internet community more than any other show, the only other thing it has really done is spawned a lot of copycats. At least half a dozen shows are running rigid stoy arcs planned for the entie series. Most are just stumbling along. Most everyone expects Kidnapped to be cancelled any day now. Heroes is moving along well, but that has a lot to do with Ali Larter showing off her assset in the season premier. Fine assets they were, too. A lot of my visitors seem to agree.

The second article is about Michael Emerson, late of the movie Saw and the Faux Henry Gale on Lost. Emerson was originally supposed to play the role for three episodes, escape, and then disappear. He hammed it up so much, the producers kept him on and made him a big wig among the Others. He promises to be featured more prominently this season as emphasis is placed on who the Others actually are. Of course, they alo have our favorite characters Jack, Kate, and Sawyer captive, so you have to expect they would be the focus, no?

Both are worth a perusal for fans.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kristen Bell as Slave Girl Leia

I had to post this one. Any guy of a certain age would feel compelled to do so. I am not made of stone, people. I am waiting for any readers who knew me around 1996 or so to make snarky comments about who she resembles. But just remember before you do--I know where you all live.You may click to enlarge--oh, forget it. You have already enlarged it long before you hit this senetnce.
Cereal Killers

So I slept in today until an obscenely late hour for no other reason than I could. I finally woke up because I had this strange dream that I was standing on a beach and then I started walking towards the water. I kept on going deeper and deeper into the ocean until I was submerged and even then I kept on walking. Strangely enough, the drowning sensation woke me up. That is what I get for waking up and deciding to eat a ham sandwich and Cheetos at4 AM. At least I decided against nuking a pizza. One only wonders what I would have dreamed then.

After all that, we only had a few scoops of cereal in the frosted Flake box and all the sugar pooled at the bottom. I dislike when cereal reaches that point. You have to eat it or else it is wasted. I cannot bring myself to do that. I am still an economic conservative even if I am quickly shifting to a social libertarian. But I like big, crunchy flakes in my cereal, not the tiny one that have settled at the bottom. It just starts the day on the wrong foot when you feel obligated to munch on the last bit of cereal so you can justify opening the other box tomorrow. One day I am going to fully become a rebel and not care about such things. Today I am just going to endure the tiny flakes and the sugar rush.

I read earlier Terrrell Owens might have attempted suicide. The guy is troubled, no doubt. Jerry Jones has a long standing habit of signing up players with all sorts of ego problems, drug habits, and other assorted issues, so it would not come as a huge surprise. But I really doubt it this time. The guy wants a fresh start in Dallas and they are expected to go far this year. It might be a whitewash, but I hope this is just the press looking to stir up scandal with a colorful team that has a history of misfits.

If President Bush thought leaking that part of the Iraq/terrorism report was helpful, heaven only knows what is in the rest of the report because he just shot the administration in the foot regarding Iraq being part of the overall war on terror. We will see when a handful of insurgents today wind up pouring sarin gas into the New York subway system eighth to ten years from now, democratic iraw or not. You want to consider that a matter of “you cannot have an omelet without breaking a few eggs,” be my guest. I am not sure what to think about it at the moment.

I have only followed the George Allen drama with minor interest. I have yet to figure out how he becam a presidential frontrunner when most people could not pick him out of a line up, much less why I should be concerned he may have said something racist at a Southern college. Really, if he did, would not Democrats salivate at the prospect of him being a presidential candidate? Brand the GOP definitely racist? Nah. Let’s knock him out so we can run against more leftist Republicans. That’s the ticket! Frankly, it is getting to the point you have to decide you want to be president somtime around five years of age and completely sanitize your life from then on. I knew once I discovered tequila at a Citadel cadet party in Myrtle Beach, 1998 that I would never be anything more than a city councilman somewhere, so it is easy to blow it. Besides, it was my experience at the University of South Carolina that the blacks and whites hated each other equally. After having spent time in the purgatory known as Virginia 9where my first roomate said there was nothing wrong with slavery because the Bible condones it. Lovely place, that Regent University) I imagine things are even worse.

Tony Blair gave his valedictory address to the Labor Party yesterday. In his ten years in office, he has lowered unemployment, increase the efficiency of social services, made the best peace in Northern Ireland that has ever existed, forced the Tories to the left, and won two wars. Yet the party is ready to boot him to the cub because his successor, Gordon Brown, promises to routinely blow a raspberry at Bush, particularly on matters of foreign policy. Tough crowd, those Laborites.

Aside from elaborating on my new found infatuation with Ali Larter, that is the state of our world, from cereal crumbs to British politics. The Eye is on it all.
Christianity on Studio 60

It is interesting how muh debate has sprung up among critics about Studio 60‘s handling of Christianity within its first two episodes. Aaron Sorkin is a fairly outspoken atheist and has presented a love/hate relationship with the religion in just about all of his writings. Specifically the religious fervor of the Marines who killed Pvt. Santiago in A Few Good Men (They proclaimed duty to God first, then unit, corps, and country.) and President Bartlet cursing God in Latin during the “Two Cathedrals” episode of The West Wing. Yet Vartlet was a devout Catholic throughout the run who often quoted Scripture. Two extreme sides of the same coin.

Studio 60 is not a whole lot different. Characters have referred repeatedly to red state audiences as yokel Christians who are itching to protest anything they find does not fit into their narrow view of the world. Pine Bluff, Arkansas got some special blasting last night even though it is the 57th largest market in the US--not something a network would dismiss quite so easily. Anything in the top 100 is worth a network executive biting his nails over. All that said, the character of Harriet is a devout Christian who lead a prayer circle before the airing of the show within a show. It was done with everyone locking hands and praying as though this was a weekly tradition they all participated in.

Personally, I thought it was a nice touch, if a bit out of place. Putting aside any notions of Hollywood being amoral (Some of the mot amoral people I have ever met were Christians, so I no longer buy that argument anyway.) Hollywood is full of creative types. Creative types tend to be freethinkers. I would imagine Hollywood to be the most agnostic (at best) city in the country just by virtue of that. I doubt Christians are particularly welcome or appreciated. Harriet seems like a bone Sorkin has thrown in to make up for the brutalizing he plans to continue to subject Christianity.

I am not bothered by that at all, mind you. One of the key reasons Christian are losing ground in the culture war--despite the most obvious one that religion is the opposite of social progress--is that Christians continually claim victim status. The ironic part is the most right wing of the bunch do that the most despite their hatred for liberals. I think anything worth believing in can stand up to criticism from its nastiest detractors and much of modern Christianity richly deserves criticism. I am biased, admittedly, considering my experiences in recent years. I think what I have experienced is a deep part of the problem. Sorkin’s stereotypical Christians actually do exist in sheltered environments such as private Christian universities. One of the best things that could happen to such people is to be plopped into an agnostic environment and learn what praying in a closet and not wearing religion on one’s sleeve is all about. Somehow I suspect Sorkin will not help get that message across.

Too bad, really. Christians viewed as normal people on television would be an interesting thing to see. Ubtil then we get Pat Robertson, Kirk Cameron, and vegetables telling Bible stories without any mention of God. That is television for you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Interrogation Compromise

Barring an unlikely filibuster, the interrogations compromise will soon become the law of the land. The debate is going to rage on, of course. Detractors call it state sanctioned torture while advocates call it a necessary evil at best and something terrorists richly deserve at worst. I am somewhere in the middle of the two positions, but I will get to that in a minute. I think we could get to the heart of the debate if everyone would answer one simple question: would it bother you for an innocent person to be tortured for useless information?

If the answer is yes, then any passed regular police procedural interrogations should be absolutely forbidden as far as you are concerned. Odds are you are not very fond of those, either, but that is another issue altogether. You may feel as though you are holding on to some higher principles at the expense of practicality. That is a legitimate choice. We make compromises all the time for the sake of general principle over reason which can be costly. I think the abortion debate falls into this category. The idea of freedom of choice outweighs the debate over life simply because a woman is unwilling to take responsibility for her actions. So decays the soul of our nation.

If the answer is no, then you have the attitude that you cannot have an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Mistakes are going to be made, but the overall goal is worth a few errors. Consider things that have been done by governments in dark times of the past and I think you will realize this is th answer more often than not. The compromise came about because of that realization. Of course, if your answer is yes, then it is not too many steps further to say break out the rubber hoses and there is where things get squeamish.

I am trying to be realistic about things. I do not buy the rhetoric that the compromise equals state sanctioned torture. I have heard enough accounts of torture from Vietname, World War II, and various regional conflicts to know better. Prisoners at Giitmo leave on average 13 pounds heavier, with new clothes, a new Koran, and having read Harry Potter novels from the prison library. Admittedly, Harry Potter is mind numbingly silly torture to read, but I assume they subjected themselves to it on purpose. Yes, I have seen the Aby Garib photos just like everyone else. I was appalled, but I believe it was a matter of the cat’s away the mice will play and those responsible got what they deserve. When the prison was handed over to the Iraqi government a few weeks ago, the prisoners begged the Americans to stay. Sounds to me like regular American treatment was not all that bad--especially compared to their fellow countrymen.

Further, these are not the crème de la creme of society. These guys were irregular fighters captured on a battlefield (and subject to summary execution under the Geneva Convention) or captured in the process of terrorist raids They were plotting to kill innocent people. They are criminal elements in their own countries who have probably already killed innocent people. They are vagabonds who have nothing else in life but hatred for America and Isreal. The promise of reward in the afterlife is it for them. It is hard to sympathize with such folks. I really do not, nor do I blame anyone else who cannot muster compassion.

I do not want to take away a necessary tool to save American lives. I think that is the utmost goal and we can all agree on that. I am not bothered by lengthy incarcerations, sleep deprivation, and the like. I know full well the US has handed over prisoners to foreign countries who do torture prisoners and I have to admit I am not upset by it, either. But somehow if the US itself brought out the thumbscrews and cattle prods, it would. I suppose it is part of my mindset from studying political science in college--there just are not a whole lot of general principles that canvass the world over so there I not much sense in hand wringing over the practices of other countries. In fact, I have a lot of Henry Kissinger in me in that the character of other countries ought to be used to US advantage.

I am not so sure the alarmists are correct in saying the moral authority of the US is destroyed by allowing interrogations to go on in such a manner. There is good reason to do what we do and it is nothing as gruesome as say chopping the head off a contract worker or Jewish journalist. Or threatening a fatwa over cartoons. Or knocking down two skyscrapers, for that matter. Times have changed from the conventional wars of the past. We are fighting a ragtag group of thugs, not a nation. It is time for a new set of rules. A new order of things will not destroy America, but not having them might.
Ali Larter is My Hero

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I watched a bit of Heroes last night because of the hype among the comic book/science fiction crowd. I was not particularly impressed. Not only does network television do science fiction poorly, the show was too obvioussly capitalizing on X-Men, Rising Stars, and The 4400. But there was one break out star there--Ali Larter. I will let these photos speak for themselves:


You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.
Stalking the Nightmare

More likely the nightmare is stalking me. Speaking of unusual things dogging me--not in a bad way this time--why did I have a surge of 4,000+ visitors last night looking for some variation of Ashlee Simpson and plastic surgery? I perused a few of the better known celebrity gossip blogs to see if there is something new up with her other than my snaky joke a few days ago about changing her appearance to gain her creepy daddy’s love. I came up empty. Perhaps there is some obscure story here I am glossing over, but whatever it is piqued a lot of interest and apparently I kinda sorta wrote about a few weeks ago. Maybe. Or not. I do not know. Four thousand people used the word “droopy” in the search query and found me describing myself after hernia surgery. Most did spnd a little time on the sidebar searching for the Simpson sisters, so I suppose it was not a total wash for everyone.

My knee itches so badly and so constantly, I am going bonkers. These hematomas spread slowly depending on where they are and how big they got. This one was a huge blood sack on an extremity and is going to dissipate irritatingly slow. Gravity has one its work, too. The things has dropped a little lower making bending my knee tough again in a different manner than before.. I have this awkward limp from both the stiffness and the fact that the sack has gone down enough to not stretch the skin. Instead it bobbles up and down like a bowl of Jello. It would be incredibly creepy if I had not had to endure similarly a dozen times before in various other spots.

I am not sure why, but I stayed up all night last night. I did not make up for the lack of sleep today like I normally would. In fact, I was wide awake the whole time and still am. Admittedly,, I do not exactly have my head on straight at the moment, but I am not tired enough to sleep, either. I have a lot on my mind, no doubt. Life--such that it is--is chugging right along, but like I said above, I am just limping through it. Aside from being (ironically enough) worn out, I am not sure what is going on.The best way I can sum it all up is that my body and spirit are laying back on the bad, staring up at the ceiling in the dark, and saying, “What the heck have the last few months been al about?” The answer is, “It was about being buffeted by fate.” But that is not a very satisfying answer. It irks me that I do not have a better one. It should not. I am one of the purest cynics around. I ought to feel right in my element. Odd that I do not.

Perhaps my attitude is changing. I do not know. I have been thinking a lot lately of turning thirty. How that age forces you to grow up. What I have learned, if anything useful, by my twenties. It has been interesting and somewhat troubling to think about. There will probably be more to come about it as themes start becoming more clear. I cannot say I have gained any definite wisdom, but I do have some thoughts on such matters. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip--"The Cold Open"

Despite enjoying the premiere of S60, I could not shake the vibe that it did not live up to its hype. The show was at the top of virtually every critic’s list and anything short of brilliance would have had the show falling flat on its face. I do not think it did, mind, but the auience numbers did drop between the opening and closing credits. The vibe was gone this week for me and hopefully everyone else. In many ways, I thought this was a better episode than the first.

Matt and Danny are feeling the pressure of returning to the show, especially after an overhyped press conference sends expectations through the roof. Art imitates life, no? Danny lets the cat out of the bag and announces publicly he has tested positive for cocaine and has to stay clean for 18 months before his insurance company will bond him. The mess blows over surpringly quickly. I thought the whole drug affair was an interesting autobiographical touch. Aaron sorkin is notorious for his hallucinogenic mushroom use, network executives promptly dumping him, all while fans did not. The producers do not dump Danny. In fact, when reporters excitedly ask Jordan when she learned of Danny’s drug use, she replied, "I don’t know. I was high when he told me.” Had to be my favorite line of the episode.

But most of the drama centered around preparing the new episode with Matt and Danny back. They need a cold open (the first sketch) to grab viewers attention. Meanwhile, cast members and the writing staff refresh old resentments over Matt and danny leaving for greener pastures in the first place. Some of the durm und strang was a bit much, but I chalk it up to dramatic license and star egos. Maybe it is not so far fetched in that regard. I did find it odd the network honcho is up in his office at 11:30 on a Friday night watching the show live. Just how important is this show for the flagging network? They do come up with a snazzy musical opening number and everything seems to roll along fine--literally. The timer on the wall says they have a week to make the next show from scratch.

Like I said, I enjoyed the episode. Probably even more than the “Pilot.” The funny thing is that I have no problem seeing Matthew Perry as a different character than Chandler Bing, but I still see a lot of Josh Lymon in Bradley Whitford’s role. It is going to be interesting to see if my attitude changes about that as time goes on.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
The Nazi Past of Sea Monkeys

Anyone who has read a comic book in the last thirty years ought to get a little squeamish. It makes all those goofy ads on the inside coverss seem a little darker now. I never bit the bullet and bought any Sea Monkeys, but i did once have a pair of those fake X-ray specs I ordered out of a Captain America comic book a good twenty years ago.

When Harold von Braunhut "discovered" a new species of brine shrimp, artemia nyos, he made millions marketing them as Sea Monkeys. Using profits from that and his other inventions (such as X-Ray Specs), von Braunhut funded anti-Semitic groups, including the Aryan Nations, despite being Jewish himself.

Read all about it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Name Game

Calista Flockhart's new show, Brothers & Sisters, costars an actor named Balthazar Getty. That is a cooler name that either Costas Mandylor or Wolf Blitzer. I just wanted that put on the record.
Gellar's Gams

Sarah Michelle Gellar posed for a spread in the latest Entertainment Weekly. I am amusing this is some advanced publicity for Southland Tales, Richard Kelly’s followup to 2001’s Donnie Darko. Who knows if the emo kids are going to connect with a film about a near future Los Angeles on the verge of social collapse as much as they did a mentally ill, time traveling teenager sacrificing himself to save the world. I doubt many even remember Gellar as Buffy. Maybe the nude scene will get their attention.

Gellar just does not do it for me. Aside from not caring about her Buffy Sommers character, she just does not have enough curves to be a sexy leading lady. I suppose that is why she never has been one successfully and has now opted to show off her naked behind for ex-wrestler, turned actor, The Rock. Yeah, this is going to be an Oscar contender for sure. She does have nice legs, though. I will give her that.

You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.
The Purple Faced Anger of Bill Clinton

After two days of hearing about Bill Clinton’s purple faced rage over accusations he was soft on terrorism, I was under whelmed at the actual interview. Do not get me wrong. All parties involved should be ecstatic about it. Those who dislike Clinton will enjoy seeing him off balance and defensive. Those who like Bill Clinton will enjoy that he got a few jabs in about FOX news promoting often dubious Republican talking points as facts. Even though Chris Wallace came off looking bad a few times, he has scored a major coup with this interview and Fox is going to promote and rerun the heck out of it.

So who loses? The Democrats, mostly. I remember a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2004 in which Bill Clinton was to introduce John Kerry at an event and was giving Kerry pointers. They did not amount to much, because Clinton was obsessed with how much the people loved him. He kept sticking his head out a side door to canned, but raging applause to prove a pint to Kerry. That sketch is not far from the truth. Bill Clinton is all about Bill Clinton and the media is willing to eat it up. The more they cover him, the less they cover Democrats talking points six weeks before an election which may have them taking over the US House. Does Clinton care? Seemingly not. He has taken time out of his reinvention of himself as a kindly philanthropist to dwell on how great an antiterrorist president he was from 1993-2001.

If you will recall during that period, the World Trade Center was bombed, the Iraqis attempted to assassinate Bush 41, the Kobar Tower in Rhiyad were bombed, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, and the USS Cole was attacked. Acts of war all which were treated as a crime scene. Bin Laden got the message we were and opted to try some extraordinary to get our attention. He succeeded. Clinton on the other hand, failed miserably.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Housekeeping

To prove I have exciting, fun filled Saturday nights, I have finally made a massive updating of the sidebar. Health pots chronicling my hernia surgery through all the other assorted nastiness are up for the sake of posterity. All the new celebrity photo posts are in their appropriate place. It was also time for my periodic dumping of my Blogroll Maybes brower bookmarks onto the actual blog. Check out who made it and cruelly speculate upon who did not.
Same Old Song and Dance

The hematoma on my knee looks like it is here to stay for a while. It has been a week and the pain of it has dispersed, but it is going to take weeks before all the blood dissipates back to where it is supposed to be. Same with my shoulder, but at least I can bend both of them enough now to function, albeit gingerly. I am surprised, with my eyesight being what it is, I have not suffered more of these things. I used to get hematomas all the time on my knee and shins just as part of general wear and tear. I figured I would be as purple as Grimace by now, all things considered. Honestly, these is the first one I have gotten since 2004 when my right hip got banged against an x-ray table. That one, dear readers, hurt like the Dickens.

What a boring week for blogging. The most exciting political event was George Clooney speaking to the United Nations. Regarding the Darfur refugee mess. No, I do not say crisis. It merit’s the term, but it is so overused the word is losing its meaning. Gee, that was a thrill a minute. The UN has authorized a peacekeeping force for Darfur but a regional alliance of African states have blocked it in order to show solidarity with oil rich Sudan. Yet another reason why the Security Council needs to go the way of the do do bird. Exactly what good is it? No matter. Nothing short of US military intervention--which is not happening--will have any effect and everyone knows it.

Can someone explain to me why Lexi is being so clingy all of the sudden? She has always been affectionate and happy to see me, but these days, I cannot beat her off me. I have to search my room before closing my door because she is constantly sneaking in to hide, knowing I would boot her out if I knew she was there. Lexi is clearly Denise’s dog and normally shows little more than a friendly interest in anyone else. That has changed in recent weeks as I have stumbled over her sticking close to my feet a dozen times no matter where. Considering last Friday night and the first paragraph of this post, you can see my I am apprehensive and puzzled. Maybe the dog has finally decided to break my neck. I do not know.

I will monitor her success with the effort and let you know.
Reese on the Beach

Way too much Jessica Simpson showing up around here for whatever reason. I only hve myself to blame, really. Here are a couple of recent Reese Witherspoon photos of her frolcking (Okay. in between frolics.) on a Malibu beach. She is actually playing with her kids although the photographer does not see fit to include them. Reese is still classy, even though--or maybe because--she is looking more like a mom than a star.You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bend It Like Holmes

Can anyone explain to me why Katie Holmes is up for the role of Victoria Beckham in a David Beckham biopic? could they not get, you know, Victoria Beckham? It is not like Posh Spice has been up to a whole lot lately other than tanning her skin to look like a KFC combo deal and shrinking her weight to live inside an actuaul envelope. Besides, she has been studying the part for years. Surely she has it down pat by now.

It reminds me of that television biopic someone made a few years ago about Robin Williams' drug problem during filming Mork & Mindy. They actually hired another actress to play Pam Dawber. why not get the real Pam Dawber? She is currently the hat check girl at a trendy West Hollywood club. You know the one. Her husband Lee Horsely is the valet standing outside.
"Our Favorite Briton is Henry VIII"

In this Dead Ringers sketch, a show called Living with the Enemy pairs the Fourth Doctor with the Cybermen Family for a weekend. Hilarity ensues.
Girl With the Daisy Dukes On

Life and Style Weekly magazine reports this month that Joe Simpson plans to further cheapen his favorite daughter’s (read: the one who makes the most money) by opening a chain of BBQ restaurants called Daisy Dukes, based on the character Jessica simpson played in 2005’s The Dukes of Hazzard. The concept is similar to Hooter’s in which patrons are distracted from cheap, mediocre food by young girls wiggling their boobs and behinds. It has worked out splendidly. No word yet on when Warner Brothers, who still own the rights to the Dukes and all its trappings, will shatter the shards of this idea all over Creation.

I have been to Hooter’s any number of times in Columbia and Virginia Beach. It has always been within a large group of guys, so the trip is a male bonding, tribal sort of thing rather than an “I could rally go for a Hooters’ burger right now affair.” I am always turn because in going, I am admitting that an graduate of Clemson University once had a multimillion dollar idea. You would think pitchers of beer and half naked girls would be the brainstorm of a Citadel cadet instead, but frankly, that would be just as painful for me to acknowledge.

Poppa Joe stands to make a mint. The flagship franchise will be in the heart of Las Vegas and daughter Jessica is slated to make several appearances there throughout the year. No word on whether she will wear the fabled hot pink bikini, but I included a photo of her in it above just in case you needed a visual aid. Ashlee is rumored to be seeking more plastic surgery to gain her father’s love.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lost Under the Milky Way

I made this video earlier today, but occasionally YouTube's processing times are peculiar. so here it is now, more or less hot off the presses. It is a season two Lost compilation set to "Under the Milky Way" by the Church. I am expecting tons of angry comments from emo kids upset I used their favorite song from Donnie Darko and blasphemed it in such a way. Then they will go cut themselves. Truth be told, I am disappointed in it. It is decent, I supoose, but looked better on paper than in execution. I will toss it out there for you to judge if you feel inclined to watch it.
Double Dose of Robert Mitchum

In the three years of blogging about television, movies, books, and comics, I do not believe one single time ever I ever made a recommendation beforehand. I am pretty certain they have all be reviews after the fact. Well, there is a first time for everything.

First, eschew whatever claptrap the big networks are offering up tonight. I am watching a blast from the past. Turner Classic Movies has been airing some very old episodes of The Dick Cavett Show. They have been a window into the 1960’s, a period of time which has fascinated me in an Oliver Stone sort of way. (Minus the narcotics, naturally.) Cavett is a masterful interviewer and there have been some memorable moments aired live (Sen. Maddox storming offstage during a discussion on segregation, then returning the next night to sing, “Georgia on My Mind” with Cavett.) that are not featured on the TCM episodes, which are exclusively Hollywood stars. I first got hooked on Cavett when VH-1 aired a handful of episode featuring rock performers. My favorite was the two part John Lennon interview in which he and Yoko decided to go into the audience to find out if they had any questions for him.

Tonight’s Cavett features one of my favorite actors, Robert Mitchum. From Cape Fear to the television adption of Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance, Mitchum was the man. Every bit as tough at seventy as ahe was at thirty.

But what I really want to recommend comes next--The Night of the Hunter. It is a classic Southern Gothic movie. It is told as a surrealistic, noir nightmare full of narrow escapes, claustrophobia, and starnge imagery. Audiences did not quite know what to make of it in 1955, but it has eventually taken its place as one of the greatest movies of all time. The Night of the Hunter was one of the first movies to be preserved forever by the American Film Institute. If you ever ever seen some character in movies or television write tattoo opposing words on the knuckles of each hand, that originated here. Mitchum’s evil character has “love” and “hate” tattooed on his and while posing as a minister, convinces the gullible townspeople it has great Biblical significance.
Rangel Attacks Chavez on His UN Remarks

Rep. Rangel has been a source of amusement for years. Not Rep. Owens' "Sharks are still swimming the slave trade route" amusement, but similar. You may recall he was at the center of the reinstate the draft rumors a few years back. He has been no fan of Bush at all. imagine my surprise that he has lead the charge in attacking Hugo Chavez for his fiery attack on Bush on the UN yesterday:
AN ATTACK ON BUSH IS AN ATTACK ON ALL AMERICANS... 'You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president, do not come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State'
.That is what I thought we had fogotten about 9/11-- sometimes it is us against the world. I am glad it is not totally lost on those in charge.
What is Jessica Simpson Cooking?

The on again/off again romance between Dane Cook and Jessica simpson appears to be on again. The comedian (and I use the term loosely) and the singer (I use the term loosely) have been rumored to be an item on several occasions since Simpson and lackey unhitched their wagon last. The two are starring in the upcoming romantic comedy Employee of the Month, which is a romantic comedy in the same sense that Losin’ It was a touching coming of age story of true love.

What is with the look here? Dane Cook has shades of Chevy Chase going on here. The two have lots in common--neither have ever been funny, as a for instance--but surely that is not what Cook is going for here. Simpson I could best describe as demented Donna Reed. The new hairdo just does not suit her. It matter naught. Simpson has a history of shupting her costars and dumping them before the DVD is even released. Do not get too comfy, Dane.

On a more personal note, I expect searches for Jessica Simpson naked to surge here at the Eye once Employee of the Month is released and that ain’t bad.You may click to enlarge the photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos in the sidebar.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wrong Side of Thirty

It has been difficult to focus on much other than not feeling well in recent weeks, but even that has inadvertently brought forth an icky revelation. In a smidgeon over two months, I will turn thirty. The big 3-0 is a milestone in many ways. It is the official mark of adulthood if one one has not gotten married yet. It is the time when you can no longer Google the names of old girlfriends because it is just creepy (creepier?) at that point. Most prominently, it is when you start falling apart. Yes, it has been brought to my attention that my current lingering ailments and nagging slow recovery are a preview of what is know as being “on the wrong side of thirty.”

Am I comfortable with that? I have always known I would not age well. Over the years folks have both kindly and no so kindly pointed out my more burdensome characteristics. (I believe the quality of my friendships deteriorated as the years when on on. Either that or I just was surrounded by more scumbags. Whatever.) Since 2004 the idea that I would ever be “old” at all has been in question, but that is a matter of odd and uncertain debate among all involved parties. Here and now, I am nearly thirty and in the shape I am in. I cannot describe myself as happy, because few really can do that honestly. Content makes me sound like a fat cat snoozing comfortably on a windowsill without a care in the world, so that is out. The best word I can come up with is resigned. Depressing, I suppose, but there it is.

Truth be told, I rarely envisioned the age as I was younger. It always seemed like the beginning of the boring part of one’s life that only ends with the abrupt stop at the cemetery. Oh, I had expectations. Grossly unrealistic ones in high school, long before the truth about how credit works ever dawned on me. Semi-unrealistic ones in college, back when a small town boy hit the big city for the first time and saw a lot more possibilities than I have dreamed before. Finally, I had some real expectations in law school, because I had gotten rid of what little idealism life had not shaken out of me and realized that small town just might have ghosts that will haunt me no matter where I go. You build the future on bits of the past and there is no such thing as a fresh start no matter what Oprah tells you.

No matter how realistic I thought I was being, I was never preparared for this. No one is, of course. It is a variation of the concept that life is what happens when you are making other plans. A rather nasty one, I might add. I am curious as to how my attitude will change on my birthday. There was no big difference between being 19 and 20. At that point being a teenager meant you were still a kid and you could not have any college buddies thinking a thing like that. You needed to be 20. Do you need to be 30? I do not know. Maybe there is some wisdom that comes with having a chunk of adult life behind you with the autumn of life in striking distance. The latter I already feel in my bones, I say with nary an ounce of drama.

I am unsure of whatever wisdom I have gained. I am ever more unsure their will be opportunities to use any regardless. What I can say it has least one development in recent weeks has made me envision ages before thirty, something I have never really done before with any seriousness. A couple of years ago, I would have found that difficult to do. I still find it aunting, not in the sense that it seems so far off, but that it does not seem far off at all. The roaring ‘20’s can be an incredibly self-absorbed time. I say that about mine in particular, because they were both the best and worst years of my life. I thought the good times would never end. I thought the bad times would not, either. Both indicate a certain shortsightedness. I recognize that. Perhaps that means there is some wisdom to be had be heading into one’s 30’s. Although with these darn aches and pains. I do not have much more to offer at the moment. I could tell stories dripping with nostalgia, but that only makes aging sound pitiful. Heck, I already said the best I could come up with was resigned anyway, right? Grrr. Life is tough, kiddies.

Hang in there.
Political Sponsorship

I am not a big fan of campaign finance reform. I am one of the "full disclure and take every dime you can get" advocates. To facilitate that, how about NASCAR uniforms for politicians?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Overnights

NBC finished first in the ratings last night based on the strength of the gameshow Deal or No Deal, which has apparaently not yet worn off its luster like Who Wants to Be a Millionaie? did. But Studio 60 finished second in its timeslot and actually lost veiwers in the second half, which is both puzzling and disheartening. What did veiwers see that made them completely lose their interest?

I think NBC is hanging a lot of its success on this show to be Emmy bait, so if it is not a huge hit, it will make up for things in that regard. But I would rather see this show go The West Wing than Sportsnight.
Lost: Shannon

Here i a Shannon-centric music video featuring scenes from the episode, "Abandoned." The song is "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne. I made it on a whim since it has been nearly two weeks since the last ones I actually intended to make and planned out. I think most people were turned off by the yuck factor of Shannon/Boone and were incredulous at Shannon/Sayid, so neither much caught on. She's pushing up daisies now, so what difference does it make at this point, no?
Dueling Fate

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Your intrepid blogger has spent many a day in recent weeks (weeks as in more realistically months) tangled up in various snares of the physical, mental, and at times spiritual variety. Such encumbrances have made for a sorrowful neglect of ye olde blog. There must be a light at the end of the tunnel coming soon, as there is not much left that I have not already experienced. Honestly.

For the last couple of days I have been laid up--literally--because of a knee injury. Nothing serious, mind you. Friday night my luck run out with the light headedness and I fell on the way to the bathroom. Got a nice golf ball size hematoma on knee. It has stiffened my entire leg up as the blood stated to spread back to it normal place. In the meantime, it has to be elevated more than let dangle for the sake of reducing swelling and my general comfort. If you have been keeping track, this mean I am still stuck in the bed even though I am now over the hernia/obstruction/virus and anything else that has plopped me there over the latter half of the summer. But what else could happen, right?

Yeah, I know. I am waiting for the ceiling to cave in, too.

Believe it or not, life still goes on even under such circumstances. There have been quite a few new and exciting things that I cannot really talk abot yet, but it will trickle out as time goes on and the blood in my kneee heads back to its proper locale. In the meantime, I have a few longer posts to put up this week alongside whatever daily whims strike me, the celebrity photos I posted the month or so will finally join the sidebar, and so will a few new interesting blogs I have discovered. Sadly, finding new blogs I like is becoming a rare thing. I am not sure if I am becoming pickier or there is just a glut of bad blogs out there. Probably both. Whatever tit is, I will be back for more later.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip--"Pilot"

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has been the most hyped show of the fall season. It is about the only brand new show this season I had any interest in checking out and that was solely because of Aaron Sorkin. As far as I am concerned, The West Wing ended at season four when he left and was a total stranger the remaining three seasons. That would have been May 2003, so Sorkin’s television hiatus has been considerable, especially in a business that cycles through its talent as fast as it does. But I have a keen interest in politics and only a mild fascination with television production? Will I like a show about a faux SNL as opposed to the White House?

Short answer: yes.

This was classic Sorkin. A convincing world right off the bat, great cast (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, D. L. Hughley, Steven Weber--all would be leading stars elsewhere.) snappy dialogue, and uncontrived situations. Studio 60, at least by its “Pilot,” deserved every bit of the critical rave it received. I could not help but notice some autobiography in Perry’s character, Matt Albie. I will explain below.

To summarize: Studio 60 is an SNL type show that has seen better days. When the show’s executive producer has an on air meltdown critiquing the entire network for watering down its shows (in a very thinly veiled attack on NBC. They are giving Sorkin a long leash--for now.), he is fired. The network insists they bring back the two creators of the show, Albie and Danny Tripp, to save it. The problem is they have become big screenwriters in the meantime. Albie has just won a Writer’s Guild award for one of his movies. The solution is to use the knowledge of Tripp's former cocaine addiction as blackmail. After some nasty twists, Albie and Tripp decide to return to their baby and take it to the top.

Yes, this is a good show. I fear it may become too hip and self-referential for a lot of fans. There is a lot going on here that we are obviously going to see later, much how like certain plot elements showed up in subsequent seasons of TWW. I have the patience for that. How many others do? Shows about Hollywood do not have a great track record for success, but I hope Sorkin breaks the trend here. I want to see more.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Religion of Peace II

Rioting in demand of an apology for remarks stating Islam has a history of violence (Pause. Breathe. Appreciate the irony.) have escalated to demands for the Pope's death.

You could not make this stuff up.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Under the Boardwalk

I do not have much juice left tonight for writing anything, so here is a music video oddity for you. It features a Southern beach music classic, sung by Bruce Willis (?), and features scenes from the British (??) series Blackpool (???). It just happens to star a pre-Doctor Who David Tennant to boot. The Drifters' version of "Under the Boardwalk" is classic, but Willis' version is pretty decent. It reminds me of the end of summer. well, the end of a lot of things, actually.
Religion of Peace

So the Pope said Islam has a history of violence and Muslims respond by rioting and being violent. Nice to see the world has not gotten any saner in my sabbatical. The remarks should not really surprise anyone. Animosity between the Catholics and Muslims go way back into medieval days. The Pope was, frankly, just being Catholic.

I am of two minds here. The Pope was a renowned scholar back in the day. He knows the history of Islam. But he also knows that some cartoons of Mohammed in some obscure Danish newspaper caused rioting for weeks. Surely he knew such a provocative statement from the most visible figure in Christendom would cause a similar reaction. Then again, the Muslim response has proved him right, has it not?

It does not matter. The only people who win in this matter are atheists who say religion is the problem.
Back in Business

I am droopy, sore, and have (surprise, surprise) lost some weight, but I think I am over the bug for the most part. Truth be told, since the hernia developed in early July, to the repair job, to the bowel obstruction, to now having a virus, there has not been a stretch of more than three or so days when I have not felt something either nagging or fullblown wrong with me for the last two and a half months.

Yeah, this summer sucked.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Kvetching

The bug is definitely lasting more than 24 hours, but I think the worst of it is over. I managed to get a prescription of Fenagrin before I ever felt the uncontrollable urge to make an offering before the porcelain god. Lucky, too, that taking fenagrin is like getting hit over the head with a hammer. I would advise anyone who is going to take it to get in the bed first. Get comfy, too, because you will not be moving for a good 16 hours. I feel progressively better aftr each nap, so I am just waiting this thing out.

The bad part is the sore spots I have developed from laying down so long. I tried walking to the kitchen this morning for a ginger ale and I looked like Frankenstein lurching about. My joints were burning to begin with. Now they are stiff as 2 by 4’s.

Anyway, I just thought I would whine a bit before having another Fenagrin. Night, all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sick Leave

I have alos reached the conclusion I should stop writing about my health just because it is bordering on the unbelievable. Yesterday I stated to come down with a virus. I guess I am still more rundown from last month's ordeal than I thought. I am taking medication to sleep it off. sleeping it off means no blogging. Perhaps it will a 24 hour bug and i will bounce back tomorrow. I do not know.

Good night, dear hearts.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just Like I Thought

Tucker Calson was the first to be voted off Dancing with the Stars. He should have worn the bowtie.
Ann Richards (1933-2006)

Former Texas governor Ann Richards has lost her battle with cancer of the esophagus. She was 73. Richards was definitely a lefty Democrat who I would likely never have voted for, but I liked her personality and spirit. She was a tough old gal who was never afraid to speak her mind. In a state full of colorful characters, she still managed to stand out as the most colorful. Seriously, how many gunslinging grandmas do you know?

She had a wonderfully dry sense of humor, too. Recall the immortal response to George W. Bush’s malapropisms: “Poor George. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Richards also appeared in commercials for Doritos and Pizza Hut poking fun at herself after leaving office. Many people take themselves way too seriously to ever do that. Not Richards. She was cool right until the end.

Godspeed, Governor Richards.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nancy Grace is a Pitbull

she just cannot leave her days as a courtroom prosecutor behind when interviewing people. Now her over aggressiveness has had tragic rsults--a woman whom she interviewed about her kidnapped two year old has committed suicide after being grilled by Grace. A tragic tale all around. Not only is the child still missing, but now he has lost his mother. Grace is, of course, unapologetic.

I will admit the whole thing is fishy. the kid has been taken from his crib moe than once and the woman is certainly not a candidate for Mother of the Year, but there has to be some sense of decorum maintained here. We have shades of the Ramseyes here, thereby proving the media never actually learns anything about innocent until proven guilty--or even accused, for that matter.
John Barrowman Interview

SFX magazine will be interviewing John Barrowman, Capt. Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and the upcoming Torchwood, by phone on Friday. The magazine is offering an opportunity to submit a question to be asked.

A couple more episode titles have emerged. Noel Clark, Mickey Smith of Doctor Who, has penned an installment entitled "Combat." No details have emerged as to pot, but Clark won critical acclaim several years ago for writing a television movie, so he does know how to write a script.

The season finale will be titled "End of Days." Not very original, no? It will b written by Chris Chibnall, not Russell T. Davies as prevviously believed. No plot details have been forthcoming.
Bend It Like Beckham

I have always thought Victoria Beckham was more attractive in her Posh Spice days. That fact never made me interested in listening to the Spice Girls, mind you. There was a time there circa 1997 that you could not roam around the University of South Carolina campus without hearing them, Hanson, and Hootie and the Blowfish. It was tough, but i managed to survive intact.

These new pictures of Victoria Beckham are hot, however. She still looks awkwardly tanned tanned and anorexic, but they are about the best photos I have run across of her in years. Lots of boob shots for those that like that sort of thing.
You may click to enlarge the photos should you deem it necessary. there are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.
George Clooney to Address UN Security Council

George Clooney will address the United Nations Security Council on the issue of genocide in Darfur. Clooney visited Darfur refugees in April on a visit to Sudan. Clooney will be joined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, the noted Holocaust survivor and ant genocide activist. Both have been heavily involved in calling attention to what is one of the largest humanitarian crisis since the Holocaust. Clooney and Wiesel have formed their own humanitarian group to call attention to Darfur.

Normally I am skeptical of Hollywood types who use their fame to make political statements. That goes for the left and right. Being a cynic, I normally think it is some narcissistic need to lecture common folks. I am becoming much better at drawing distinctions, whether completely logical or not. In short: Jane Fonda and Sean Penn cavorting with a war opponent is bad. George Clooney, Bono, and Angelina Jolie calling attention to the issue of genocide and starvation in third world countries is good.

I note that Clooney’s address to the UN is sponsored by John Bolton. I do not think the Bush Administration gets enough credit for its efforts to aid the Darfur refugees, no will it. But the fact is people who would normally be adamantly opposed to each other politically (Clooney, Sen. Danforth, Bolton, and a number of ex-Clinton officials who are now working for human rights groups in Darfur) are setting aside their differences for an important cause. In this increasingly petty, self-obsessed world, that is worth calling attention to.

If I am not mistaken, Clooney will be only the third non head of state to address the security Council The other two were Mayor Rudolph Guiliani and PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat. Yes, that is a mixed bag of folks…..

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Remebering the Man in Black

Johnny Cash died on this day three years ago. So why was he the Man in Black?
Conservatives Make the Case for Democrats

As I noted in the post below: "If this be treason, make the most of it."
Snippets

I keep falling into the trap of making post after post motivated by television, movies, or hormones. Fret not. I am still interested in that state of the world and am as comfy in my part of the hand basket as I can be. There just is not much interesting out there to write about as far as politics and society go. I recall promising--or was that threatening?--some more personal posts quite a while ago regarding putting my thoughts that ran through my head in the hospital down on paper. That has been slow going. Hence the shorter, more frivolous posts.

I do have a few snippets here and there that do not merit there own post:

The Eye has devoted a smidgeon of time to the Anna Nicole smith case. I even attracted the attention of a “CatoYounger” who was somehow attached to the opposing side of the case, though I never determined in exactly what form. Smith was pregnant throughout the latest round at the Supreme Court and had the baby a few days ago. Sadly, her twenty year old son died just a few days afterwards. I cannot imagine the emotions that have to be associated with such highs and lows in a terribly short period of time.

Syrian security forces stopped an embassy attack today that sounded eerily similar to what I know about the embassy taken hostage in Iran in 1979. Of course, there was also a ship intercepted later today bound for Syrian loaded with North Korean weapons. Call that one step forward, two steps back.

After complaining that Democrats were willing to shoot themselves in the foot and not renominate Lieberman for the Senate even though he is most assuredly a winner in November, conservatives like Christopher Buckley are writing columns calling for the defeat of Republicans in November. All right, I am not a huge fan of the current GOP crop, but I am motivated just like most voters--I do not vote for the conservative. I vote against the liberal. Yes, they are spending money faster than I would like, but I would rather have the leaky faucet of GOP rule than turn the water full blast and rip off the knobs of Democrat rule. Principles are all well and good on paper, but they do not mean diddly in the real world. Hold on to what you have when it is the best you are ever going to get.

Now you know why I have developed a huge distaste for politics.
The Jack Bauer Power Hour

When 24 returns in January, James Cromwell will be playing Jack Bauer's father (Was Donald Sutherland busy?) and the two will face the wretched villainy of...Eddie Izzard.

Really.
Spoke too Soon

The Path to 9/11 was the highest rated show on television last night. Apparently, ABC should have aired part one last night and part two tonight in order to capitalize on the public's interest after all the memorials yesterday. Sounds morbid, but all the network cares about is the bottom line--and avoiding a Bill Clinton lawsuit.
Stingray Killings in the Wake of Steve Irwin's Death

Ten stingrays have been killed since Steve Irwin’s death. It is not certain whether it is a matter of misguided vengeance or if people are just afraid. After all, if a guy who has wrestled crocodiles his entire life can be killed by one, what chance do John and Jane Doe have? Whatever the rationale or lack thereof, I do not think Irwin would be pleased. He wanted his legacy to be animal preservation. The guy risked his neck to save animals of all sorts on an almost daily basis. I am certain by now that if you have followed the aftermath of Irwin’s death at all, you have seen the interview in which he says that if he is ever bitten by an animal, he knows it is his own fault. I highly doubt he would blame the stingray for its actions.

While I am on the subject, the latest word is that Irwin was conscious when the film crew dragged him onto the boat and lost consciousness after instinctively pulling the stingray barb out his chest. It is not entirely clear if he would have survived had he not done so, but the fact that has been mentioned makes it a distinct possibility.
Kate Hudson Bikini Photo

Let's start the blogging day off right. I have never before noticed just how attractive Kate Hudson is. She has been in chick flicks I paid no attention to. She looks great even without makeup.You may click to enlarge the photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.